MillerCoors announced on March 20 that its Milwaukee Brewery will begin implementation of the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) International Water Stewardship Standard, the world’s most comprehensive water use standard for commercial, agricultural and industrial sites.

MillerCoors continues to be an industry leader in water stewardship and is committed to using water resources sustainably in both its agricultural-dominated supply chain as well as at its breweries.

Sustainably sourced, high quality water is critical to ensuring world class beer is produced at all MillerCoors facilities. Aligning internal production processes and external watershed risk analyses to the AWS Standard will enhance and validate their ambitious water stewardship goals. The MillerCoors Milwaukee Brewery seeks to be the first brewery in the world to achieve certification to the AWS Standard.

AWS is a multi-stakeholder organization with a standard and verification system that seeks to drive improved water stewardship worldwide. To earn certification by an accredited third-party auditor, organizations must meet criteria demonstrating an understanding of their own water use, watershed context and shared concerns in terms of water governance, water quantity, water quality and Important Water Related Areas. AWS has regional offices all over the globe to work with water users in achieving their water stewardship goals.

The partnership between MillerCoors and AWS was made possible by a grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan to the North America office of AWS located in Milwaukee’s Global Water Center. Water stewardship actions at the Milwaukee Brewery will have a direct and positive impact on conditions in the Menomonee River and near shore areas of Lake Michigan.
“At MillerCoors we are always interested in having a better understanding of the dynamics of our watersheds, as ensuring there is a good supply of quality water is critical to our community and to making great beer” said Audrey Templeton, environmental safety and health manager for MillerCoors. “We are very excited to begin this journey with AWS.”

“MillerCoors has long been recognized as a leader and first-mover in the space of corporate water stewardship,” said Matt Howard, director of AWS North America. “Implementing the AWS Standard at their historic Milwaukee Brewery will demonstrate to the world that effective and credible water stewardship enhances brand value while ensuring our freshwater resources are healthy and accessible for generations to come.”

MillerCoors water stewardship emphasis began in 2013, when the company endorsed the UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate. This led to specific targets including a reduction in water-to-beer ratio to an average of 3.0:1.0. As of 2016, MillerCoors has achieved a water-to-beer ratio of 3.20:1.0 which is nearly a 10% reduction in just three years. They also prioritize water stewardship beyond their own operations placing an emphasis on sustainable brewery watersheds.

Achieving AWS certification is one more step in MillerCoors water stewardship journey. AWS and the Fund for Lake Michigan realize the transformative actions to improve our freshwater resources require private sector leadership like that being demonstrated by today’s announcement. “People might not always realize the important connection between freshwater and business but MillerCoors certainly understands it,” says Vicki Elkin, executive director of the Fund for Lake Michigan. “We’re thrilled to be part of this historic move by our local brewing industry and are confident MillerCoors will inspire private industries throughout the Great Lakes and across North America to reduce their water footprint by implementing the AWS standards.”

The North American headquarters and regional partner for AWS is The Water Council, a globally connected epicenter for water research, innovation, education, and business development located in the Global Water Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. MillerCoors has been a longtime supporter and Member of The Water Council.

The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) is a multi-stakeholder organization dedicated to enhancing water stewardship capacity, and guiding, incentivizing and differentiating responsible water use. AWS employs three mutually-reinforcing programs to drive improved water stewardship: a standard and verification system, membership of a multi-stakeholder association, and training.

Through its diverse collection of storied breweries, MillerCoors brings American beer drinkers an unmatched selection of the highest quality beers, flavored malt beverages and ciders, steeped in centuries of brewing heritage.

The Fund for Lake Michigan, a private foundation based in Milwaukee, was established in 2011 as part of an agreement between We Energies, Madison Gas and Electric, WPPI Energy, Clean Wisconsin and Sierra Club to safeguard the lake and improve water quality in the region.